Aug 10, 2008

Man the ant

Hiking a trail that rises steadily for over 1,600 feet will give one time to contemplate things - especially when pulling up for a few seconds to sip some water and curse one's lungs. It was at an impromptu rest stop that I looked down and saw a small swarm of wood ants at my feet. They swarmed in a cloud pattern, never straying too far from the point of the disruption. It got me to thinking of our new modes of communication and connection - iPhones, g-chat, Twitter, Facebook, Digg, etc. Aren't they, taken together as a network, reminiscent of the scent trails ants use to navigate their world? Our march of thoughts and reactions travels along a trail of links, each one an archive of the recent past much in like a chemical residue. Those who trace our steps know not only where we've been but what we've encountered along the way.

Small colonies form around niche interests, but larger, more robust colonies are in search of something more basic: popularity, and the social and economic riches that come with it. 'Buzz' signals a change in direction. Criticism warns of a dead end. Any disruption and the network swarms to resolve it either by eliminating the threat or subsuming/digesting it. This is the colony we should be wary about, or it will digest us.

Maybe this logic only works at 8,000 feet. However, this all seems to me a better way of understanding the online communities than terms that use the "roots" as a suffix.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lucid, despite the apoxia, and perceptive. And the Queen ant is ...?

Gary Scott said...

That is the question.

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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